West Coast Chess: Brainy managers, twins highlight Padres 4-2 win over the Giants

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–A match-up of high-minded managers that won’t give an inch while trying to swipe a couple of runs isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, but deploying competing, identical twins on a freezing cold night sure provides a unique edge.

That was the scene at Oracle Park on Monday as the Bob Melvin-led Padres pushed their way past the Giants and newly-minted Manager of the Year, Gabe Kapler, winning 4-2.

The NL West hopefuls, both trying to top each other while keeping the division favorite Dodgers within their sights, engaged in station-to-station baseball while searching for a breakthrough with San Diego’s Austin Nola the only slugger able to cut through the cold air with his solo blast in the fifth that gave the Padres a brief 2-1 lead.

The rest was a chess match, orchestrated by Melvin and Kapler and executed by the competing twins, Taylor and Tyler Rogers. In the seventh, Tyler allowed a tie-breaking run on two hits, and Taylor–recently acquired in a trade with the Twins–pitched a scoreless ninth and saved it for the visitors.

“We’re both trying to throw a lot of strikes,” Tyler said. “We both do throw a lot of strikes. We pitch different–I pitch different than everybody–but, really, if you look at it, we’re very similar pitchers.”

The twins were only fifth set to compete in a major league game and the first since Ozzie and Jose Canseco did it in 1990. The upcoming two games of the series won’t feature both as Tyler departed after the game to be with his wife, Jennifer, who is due to give birth in the coming days.

But the occasion was clearly energizing for both, and they’ll 16 more opportunities to compete this season after the trade brought them closer together.

“Normally we leave for the season and I don’t see him again for eight months,” Tyler said. “So I’m looking forward to seeing him throughout the year. Dinners are on him.”

More so than Tyler Rogers’ rough inning, the Giants saw their evening unravel with an 0 for 11 performance with runners in scoring position which wasted eight base hits, four walks and two doubles. San Diego’s Nick Martinez, making his first big league start since 2017, was the first to survive all the Giants’ traffic on the basepaths by pitching five innings while striking out six, walking one and scattering five of those Giants’ hits.

Alex Wood lasted just 4 1/3 innings in his first start, departing after he allowed Nola’s homer that put the Giants in a 2-1 hole.

The Padres and Giants pick it up again on Tuesday with Yu Darvish and Alex Cobb getting the starting pitching assignments.

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